O'Farrell Community School

O'Farrell Community School

Coordinates: 32°42′09.09″N 117°03′55.16″W / 32.702525°N 117.0653222°W / 32.702525; -117.0653222

6130 Skyline Drive
San Diego, CA, 92114
United States
Type Public Charter School
Opened 1959
Faculty 71
Number of students 935[1]
Mascot Falcons
Chief Educational Officer Jonathan Dean

O'Farrell Community School or O'Farrell Middle (CDE official name)[2] commonly referred to as O'Farrell is a charter school in the Southeast San Diego neighborhood of Encanto serving grades 6-9 in the K-12 American education system. The school opened its doors in the San Diego Unified School District in 1959 with its name chosen in 1957 as Mabel E. O'Farrell Jr. High.[3] It was voted to become a charter school in 1994. President Bill Clinton made a visit to San Diego in 1995 to sign the "Goals 2000" education bill and to visit O'Farrell because it was charter.[4] It was also mentioned in Hillary Clinton's book It Takes a Village.[5] It has a code of conduct of how to become a good citizen called the Falcon way, of Focus , Attitude , Leadership Citizenship , and Non-Violience ,[5] that is indoctrinated per student. Instead of being called principal, faculty and students refer to the educational leader as the Chief Educational Officer (CEO). The large conspicuous mural in front of the school on the side of the Auditorium was a tribute to a faculty member by the nickname "Animal" who died. The mural was painted by students.

For 2006-2007, the school academic progress place it with an Academic Performance Index of 710 base with 720 growth, where 800 is the California state goal.[6] The school boasted itself as being #1 in API compared to other surrounding schools in its November 2007 edition of its newsletter.[7] For October 2005, the demographic makeup of the student body consisted of 36% Hispanic, 31% Black, 24% Filipino, 3% White.[8]

Hillary Clinton also mentions the O'Farrell way extending beyond these rules that also includes the graduation requirement of time for community service.[5] However, the graduation requirement actually fits under The O'Farrell Standard which is just an award and recognition issued for those who have essentially accomplished (1) good academic performance, (2) portfolio compilation, (3) presentation of the portfolio, (4) 12 hours of community service equally distributed at home, work, school; (5) good citizenship The O'Farrell Way all of which were mentioned in the school's charter proposal.[9]


Family organization and designations

The school is known to use a social structure called a Educational Family,[10][11] but students use term Family. The faculty of the family taught interdisciplinary subjects. For example, one teacher taught history in combination of biology while another teacher taught Spanish in combination of dance. The family structure was introduced in the 1990s and more connected to newer branded O'Farrell Community School than older O'Farrell Junior High School.

It is organized in such a way one set of families serve the 6th grade then another set of families serve both 7 and 8 grade students simultaneously, especially the first class of the day is called homebase. Associated close with the letters are a name of a broad theme for example: I for Inspirations; E for Exceeders; F for Fantastics; D for Discovery; A for Achievers.[12]

In later years, the school designated its families as Family 1, Family 2, ..., Family 6 with newer names such as "Great Force" for Family 5 and "Horizon Explorers" for Family 6.[13]

Notable alumni

  • Rosalie Hamlin known for 60s Angel Baby song[14]
  • Tom Waits claimed to have attended this school and remembered it as an all black school in a 1973 interview.[15]
  • Shirley Horton, California assemblywoman and former mayor of Chula Vista[16]


  1. ^ "SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY REPORT CARD (SHORT VERSION)" (PDF). San Diego Unified School District. Spring 2007 Edition. http://studata.sandi.net/research/sarcs/2006-07/SARC319short.pdf. Retrieved 2008-02-07. 
  2. ^ "SDUSD School Names" (PDF). San Diego Unified School District. http://www.sandi.net/Zangle/readandlearn/jobaids/general/Gen_School_Names.pdf. Retrieved 2008-02-07. 
  3. ^ "Celebrating 150 Years: The Sixties". San Diego City Schools. http://www.sandi.net/events/150years/60s.html. Retrieved 2008-02-07. 
  4. ^ John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters. "William J. Clinton: Remarks at the O'Farrell Community School in San Diego, California". The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=51897. Retrieved 2008-02-07. 
  5. ^ a b c Clinton, Hillary. It Takes a Village. ISBN 1416540644. http://books.google.com/books?id=ASPrmg6xTg8C&pg=PA245&lpg=PA245&dq=%22o+farrell%22+san+diego+california+charter+1994&source=web&ots=Nvq6Hseu14&sig=bUUxpWkJx2m1zIc1HTkkFmV_Uc4. Retrieved 2008-02-07. 
  6. ^ "2006-07 Accountability Progress Reporting (APR)". California Department of Education. 2007-11-05. http://api.cde.ca.gov/AcntRpt2007/2007SchSummary.aspx?allcds=37683386061964. Retrieved 2008-02-07. 
  7. ^ "Volume 10 Issue 1" (PDF). O'Farrell Community School. November 2007. http://ofarrell.sandi.net/files/File/newsletter112007.pdf. Retrieved 2008-02-07. [dead link]
  8. ^ "2006-07 Accountability Progress Reporting (APR)". California Department of Education. 2007-12-13. http://api.cde.ca.gov/AcntRpt2007/2006BaseSchDC.aspx?allcds=37-68338-6061964&c=R. Retrieved 2008-02-07. 
  9. ^ "Charter Renewal Petition" (PDF). 2003-10-09. Archived from the original on 2007-08-23. http://web.archive.org/web/20070823140139/http://ofarrell.sandi.net/files/File/O'FarrellCharter20042009.pdf. Retrieved 2008-02-07. 
  10. ^ Theodore R. Sizer. Horace's Hope: What Works for the American High School. ISBN 0395877547. http://books.google.com/books?id=_zw5PrqTZ44C&pg=PA31&lpg=PA31&dq=Coalition+of+Essential+Schools+o'farrell&source=web&ots=D4iVWhwEWY&sig=wiuXYyDkjF9H75sd5CddXcRFG0Y#PPA31,M1. 
  11. ^ Jacqueline S. Thousand, Richard A. Villa. Creating an inclusive school. ISBN 1416600493. http://books.google.com/books?id=LmGUwULs6c8C&pg=PA90&lpg=PA90&dq=o'farrell+middle+school&source=web&ots=v7nKT9BD8i&sig=jVkWlxrJ5vbN-fnZbAFU16uO3Fo#PPA90,M1. 
  12. ^ "Welcome to O'Farrell Community School!". O'Farrell Community School: Center For Advanced Academic Studies. 1995-03-26. http://edweb.sdsu.edu/O'Farrell/O'Farrellhome.html#Mission. 
  13. ^ "Staff Directory - O'Farrell Community School". O'Farrell Charter School. 2007-03-08. http://www.ofarrellacademy.com/family5/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=2&MMN_position=5:5. Retrieved 2008-02-07. 
  14. ^ "The Biography of Rosie Hamlin". http://rosieandtheoriginals.com/main/rosiehamlin.htm. 
  15. ^ "Quotes: Childhood". Tom Waits Library. http://www.tomwaitslibrary.com/quotes/childhood.html. Retrieved 2008-02-07. 
  16. ^ "Biography of Shirley Horton". http://www.asianamerican.net/bios/Horton-Shirley.html. 

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